Tips on Doing Business

Types of Solicitations

Procurement Cards (up to $5,000) can be used by City personnel to make small-dollar purchases without the intervention of the Purchasing Division.

Purchase Orders (under $10,000) can also be issued by the Purchasing Division after the department receives at least three quotations.

Informal Bids (between $10,000 and $50,000), which are unadvertised and sealed, are awarded by the City Purchasing Director to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder complying with the bid specifications.

Formal Bids (over $50,000) are advertised, sealed, and opened at a public bid opening.  A formal written contract is required for these bids after award by the City Purchasing Director.

Requests for Proposals (over $10,000) are used when price is not the only factor to be used in determining the award of a contract.  Evaluation criteria for award will be established such as experience of firm, experience of personnel assigned to project, approach to project, completeness of proposal, and ability of proposer to meet the City's needs.  An evaluation committee determines the highest ranked proposer and conducts the evaluation of proposals received.  The City Purchasing Director makes award of requests for proposals.

Vendor Contracts (any dollar threshold) are typically in place for a three-year period.  The City has realized significant benefits to using vendor contracts to procure frequently used commodities and services.  There is a quicker delivery time, reductions in inventory, less administrative costs associated with repetitive bidding, and price protection due to the City's standard escalator clause.

Bid Notifications

All vendors who wish to do business with the City of Milwaukee are invited to register for E-notify, the City's exclusive bid notification system.

Vendors may view a current list of active bids on our Current Bid Opportunities page.  Formal bids over $50,000 are also advertised publicly in the Daily Reporter, the current official newspaper of the City of Milwaukee.  A copy of a pending bid may also be obtained from the Purchasing Division upon request.

Preparation of Bids & RFP Responses

When preparing an "Invitation to Bid" or a "Request for Proposal (RFP)" response, vendors are instructed to thoroughly read all instructions on the bid/RFP form and its specifications/Scope of Services before submitting a response.  All terms and conditions applicable to the bid/RFP must also be read, since by signing the bid/RFP response, the vendor is agreeing to all the terms and conditions as referenced in the bid/RFP.  Once a bid is tabulated and evaluated, award will be made by the City Purchasing Director.  For specific instructions on submitting a bid/RFP response, please review the appropriate instructions:

Bid/RFP Response Submissions

All bid and RFP responses must be received in their entirety in the Purchasing Division and time stamped before the closing date and time indicated in the Invitation to Bid or Request for Proposal.

Bids and RFP responses may be mailed or hand delivered to the appropriate locations listed listed below.

Mailing Address (City Hall):  City of Milwaukee Purchasing Division, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 601, Milwaukee, WI  53202

Hand Delivery Address (City Hall):  Department of Administration, 200 E. Wells Street, Room 606, Milwaukee, WI  53202

Responses must be submitted in a sealed envelope or box clearly marked with the following information:

  • Bid Number
  • Bid Closing Date
  • Bid Closing Time
  • Commodity/Service being bid

Any bid received in an envelope not properly and clearly marked as specified above may result in the bid being rejected.

Bids (not RFP responses) may also be submitted electronically via e-mail to [email protected].

All bids and RFP responses must be signed by the bidder/proposer.  Any attachments, additional pages, addenda or explanations, etc. supplied by the bidder/proposer with a bid/proposal will be considered a part of the response.  However, if additional information is supplied that conflicts with the terms and conditions stated in the bid/proposal, the bid/proposal may be rejected as a counteroffer.

If samples are required with bids/RFPs, they are held until the award is made.  Samples must be picked up by the bidder/proposer as soon thereafter as possible.  If the samples are not picked up within 30 days of the award, the samples will be placed in the City's inventory.

Bids and RFP responses are time stamped upon receipt and are securely kept unopened until the specified closing date and time.  The City, or any official or employee thereof, will not be responsible for the pre-opening of, post-opening of, or failure to open a proposal not properly addressed and identified.

Formal bids and RFPs are opened and read publicly by Purchasing Division staff at 2:30 p.m.  The location of the bid opening is shown on the bid document.

Proposals time stamped after the closing date and time will be not considered and will be returned to the proposer unopened.  Regardless of the method used for delivery, proposers shall be wholly responsible for the timely delivery of the submitted proposals to the mailing or hand delivery address as detailed above.

Should an original of a bid be requested by the Purchasing Division staff, it must be received in the Purchasing Division within five (5) business days after the request.  Failure to comply within this timeframe may result in bid rejection.

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